Friday, May 31, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend 2013 at Greenfield Village

It takes weeks of preparation.
The anticipation is high and the excitement builds.
You can't wait for the day to come.
When it finally gets here, it's such a whirlwind that - bam! - it's over before you know it.
No, I'm not talking about Christmas here; I'm speaking of the three day Civil War Remembrance at Greenfield Village that takes place over Memorial Day Weekend.
This really is perhaps the most anticipated event on our calendar.
And this year was not a let down.
The weather, for two of the three days was probably the best weather anyone could ask for: sunny with highs in the upper 60's. The third day, however, we had a down pouring of rain for the afternoon and tear down, though up until around 1:00 it wasn't too bad.
Anyhow, I have a chock full of photographs here for you to enjoy, most taken by yours truly but a few taken by others.

Our campsite is the one on the left, with another member on the right. We in the civilian part of the 21st Michigan encircle a grove of mulberry trees that Henry Ford planted back in the 1930's. The building you see on the far left is the Hanks Silk Mill built in 1810.

Though my tent and fly are pretty basic, some of our members go way beyond what many others do.

A friend of mine made me a pretty authentic checkerboard from an old oak teacher's desk that was being tossed out. Here you see two of our 21st Michigan members playing a rousing game!

Period music was supplied from Mrs. Jones and Miss Cary. Mrs. Cary added her beautiful vocals.

Yes, I portray the postmaster and, though it's not visible here, I have a neat little period set up with the pigeon holes for the letters. I also have replica Civil War era stationary and pen & ink to show the visitors a little of life on the homefront. My wife enjoys spinning wool into yard and will spend most of her time doing so, much to the delight of the visitors and friends alike.

Here is another shot of my wife doing what she loves. She will explain the process of spinning from sheep to shawl, including passing around raw wool so visitors can feel it with the oils still there. She also will let the children card the wool using carding paddles, which they enjoy.

Michigan's own Senator Jacob Howard gives a speech to his constituents about his plans for an amendment to the Constitution to outlaw slavery. Dave Tennies has been portraying the senator for over a decade and does an amazing job in his presentations.

I thought I'd just throw a photo in here so you, too, can experience the wonderful view we all had camping in the grove of mulberry trees. They were planted especially for the silk mill (scroll up a bit to see a photo showing a portion of the mill) in hopes of  providing food for the young silkworms needed to produce the cocoons. This production, however, is no longer presented at the mill, as the time and energy it took to produce the silk was too time consuming for the little amount provided.
Mrs. Paladino hired on a domestic servant. Margaret is still learning the ropes but began her new occupation on the right foot and, I believe, will be a wonderful help to her employer.
This wonderful family joins us from Ohio. We have multiple members who are from the Buckeye State and we welcome them with open arms.

These lovely ladies are not with the 21st Michigan, but are very good friends of many in our group. My wife & I consider them among our best friends.
Our newest member just happens to be a period photographer, and he does a great job in his craft.

During the course of our three day stay at Greenfield Village we always make sure to dine at least one time at the 1832 Eagle Tavern.

By "we" I mean nearly two dozen of us! What a patriotic picture, eh?
More of our friends from Ohio joined us here.
Here is my family, including my new daughter-in-law! She is not a reenactor but allowed herself to be dressed in period clothing as a favor to me for this occasion. Thanks Samm!
A close-up of my family: this is how those in the future will see us!
As you can see, we all took up a section inside this wonderful old building.

The Dressmaker's Shop, run by Kim and Jim Lynch, is the place to go to get accurate period needs when one wants to dress authentically.

Speaking of dressing authentically, a period fashion show, hosted by Beth Turza, was held. Beth certainly knows her stuff when it comes to period-correct clothing!
And the fashion shows always draw large crowds. It's one of the most popular of the extra attractions during this weekend.
And Beth always explains in great detail the whys and wherefores of period clothing
It's not often that Beth includes mourning fashion in her shows. But on this day she did. But I wonder...who is it behind the veil...?'s Kristen! Kristem has a blog as well called The Victorian Needle. She is also another proud 21st Michigan member.
The St. John's were in line for the fashion show. This mother of a recent high school graduate has been reenacting since she was around 4 years old!
Yes, I was in the fashion show as well. And so was my good friend Sheri. Sheri is part of the wonderful civilian contingency of the 24th Michigan.
Larissa went on the stage with her son to show a toddler's dress. many in the audience did not know that boys wore dresses until they were "breached" at 4 or 5 years old.
Another group of lovely young ladies took part in the fashion show. I've known these women for a bit but don't know which unit they are in. They do a fine job, however, don't they?
Here are some of the military men of the 21st, relaxing "just before the battle."
Ryan drives the horses as the men prepare for battle
The Union army in formation.

A fine looking group of men.

To be fair, I would like to show a couple of Confederate photos. The men portraying the southern boys do a great job and most get pretty heavy into the character of a rebel soldier.

Three fine rebel gentlemen
The good folks at Greenfield Village always throw the reenactors a fine ball.
And everyone wears their finest ball dresses and suits
Everyone had a  - - wait for it - - BALL!
Lovett Hall is beautiful and was built specifically for ball dancing.
The horses were corralled near the 1870's Sarah Jordan Boarding House.
Waiting for the Memorial Day service
The military men line up behind the 1848 Logan County Courthouse. They are preparing to march in a very solimn parade to honor all the military men and women - past and present - in a beautiful remembrance ceremony. By the way, this courthouse was where Abraham Lincoln, as a circuit-riding lawyer, once practiced law.
We civilians also marched and took part in the memorial service.
Our own Kristen (on the right) was one of the women who brought the wreath to the front of the village green during the Remembrance/Decoration Day ceremony. I love that many of the women that take part are dressed in various stages of mourning. It just makes sense in this situation.
Mrs. Paladino, on the left, also took part, as she has done for the last few years. Actually, there are at least a dozen or more women who pay this special tribute.
Kristen misses her beau so much. He was killed at Chancellorsville just a few weeks before. But she knows he is with her...
Finally, here is my wife and I. I am so thankful to have a family that enjoys this time-travel hobby nearly as much as I do. I am truly blessed.

The Civil War Remembrance was, as always, spectacular. Yes, we are "on display" for the 30,000 or so patrons who pay to come to visit us over the three day weekend, but that's part of the fun. This cannot be put into the same category as a typical reenactment mainly because of the crowds and the atmosphere; it is very festive, especially when the weather is with us (as it was, for the most part, this year).
And to be surrounded by all of the historical structures only adds to the whole feel.
Yep - I'm already thinking about next year...and I still have planty of reenactments yet ahead for this year!



Pamela@ Our Pioneer Homestead said...

How COOL is this! Oh, I thoroughly enjoyes each and every photograph; I would have loved to see this in person~ thanks for sharing!!

GinaBVictorian said...

Wonderful as usual Ken! Love all the photos! Thanks for the great post! Gina

An Historical Lady said...

Hi Ken,
I got up this AM to enjoy your fantastic photo gallery while eating my oatmeal.

I LOVED this typo:

"...My wife enjoys spinning wool into yard and will spend most of her time doing so, much to the delight of the visitors and friends alike."

Gee, I'd like some more yard---Can she spin some for me? I laughed til I cried---It was so cute!!!

Your photos are spectacular and I am so glad you all had a great time.

the bee guy said...

We were there on Sunday and had a great time. Couldn't of asked for better weather. Cars were parked on the grass almost to M-39. A nice way to spend time with family on the Lord's day.